Missouri one step closer to adopting prescription drug database, only state without program

Senate approves bill, advances to House
Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 10:07 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - All 49 states except Missouri have what is known as a “Prescription Drug Monitoring Program,” or more commonly known as a PDMP.

Earlier this week, the Missouri state Senate approved a bill that would create such a program, which essentially creates a database that provides pharmacists and physicians with their patients’ prescription history.

Under the bill, data would only consist of medications that are considered controlled substances, such as opioid painkillers and some anti-anxiety drugs.

Missouri is the only state without such a program.

”It has been a little embarrassing for the physicians of Missouri to interact with our colleagues and others and have to confess, even now in 2021, we don’t have a statewide Prescription Drug Monitoring Program,” Mercy Vice President of Primary Care David Barbe said on Thursday.

While the state does not have a PDMP, opioid and prescription drug misuse is nothing new.

”Prescription painkillers started in the 80′s kind of as a magic pill for pain,” said Sally Gibson, Vice President of Recovery Services at Burrell Behavioral Health. “And they weren’t even marketed as an addictive substance. Fast forward, and now we’re in the 2000′s and people have been on them for a long time. And so people have developed addiction to it.”

Those drugs are in fact addictive, which is where this new tool could come into play.

”The fact that we’re on the verge of getting a PDMP this legislative season, is a really big deal,” Brabe said.

These bills have been in front of the Senate and House year after year, but have consistently fallen short.

Despite no statewide database, there is a St. Louis County one. Even pharmacies here in Springfield use it, but welcome something a little more universal.

”We already utilize the St. Louis County one, so I mean why not have one for the whole state that’s more consistent,” Pharmacist Reed Miller with MediCenter Pharmacy said.

One of the hardest things to track is when patients receive medication from multiple doctors.

“The second most common cause of excess opioid acquisition and diversion is a patient going to more than one physician and getting opioids,” Barbe said. ”If those physicians don’t understand or realize that that patient is receiving prescription medications from another physician, it can be very dangerous to the patient.”

But that is not the only way for people to get their hands on the drugs.

“The other thing that happens with our youth,” Gibson said. “Is they will go into someone’s house and if I had a surgery and had pain meds and pain meds, they leftover in my bathroom cabinet, they will then take those. And then they will sell them at school or they take them themselves. So it just starts growing.”

Gibson said juveniles occasionally take those drugs from places they know they can easily access it, whether it is from a parent or a grandparent.

Regardless of where a person may get these types of drugs, there are not always simple tell tale signs of addictions.

”One of the things I tell people with opioid use, it could be anybody,” Gibson said. “It could be your grandmother. It could be your child. It could be your sibling.”

But some health professionals say this system could help stay on top of that.

”The whole idea is to improve patient care,” Barbe said. “And it also means recognizing when a patient might be going down a path of misuse.”

The bill now moves over to the Missouri House. If approved there, it would still take some time before the database is up and running.

Burrell Behavioral Health, along with other local organizations, provide multiple services for people struggling with addiction. The Behavioral Crisis Center is open 24/7 and 365 days of the year with wavered providers to provide medication-assisted treatment.

Burrell also has a drug take-back program. Drug take-back cabinets are available at Burrell Pharmacy off of East Grand Street or Main Center Pharmacy off of East Bradford Parkway.

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